After months of flirtation, former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez is going full bore into professional wrestling.
Velasquez has signed with WWE and will rematch Brock Lesnar on Oct. 31 at its “Crown Jewel,” the industry-leading wrestling promotion announced today during a press conference in Las Vegas.
”I am so excited to be joining the WWE,” Velasquez said at presser, held in Las Vegas. “Brock Lesnar crossed the wrong familia, and for that, he needs to pay.
”I know Brock is big. He’s the biggest. But he ain’t the baddest. I’ve beat him once becore the UFC, and I’m ready to do it again.”
ESPN.com was first to report the news of Velaquez’s signing. The UFC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The report indicates Velasquez has notified the promotion of his retirement from MMA, and he has been removed from the UFC drug testing pool.
“Words can’t describe the feelings that I have in the ring when Cain Velasquez comes walking down this ramp,” Lesnar said at the press conference. “Cain, this is my world. This is my house. This is my kingdom, and I am the conquerer.
“To me, this is not a show, Cain. For 10 years, for 10 long years, I’ve been waiting for this moment, Cain. I get up every day and have to look at this scar you put on my face inside that octagon. I can’t wait to get my hands on you again, because it will be a different story, and it will be a different outcome.”
The rematch under fictitious circumstances is nine years in the making. Velasquez and Lesnar met in the UFC’s octagon nine years ago at UFC 121, with Velasquez battering Lesnar to claim the UFC heavyweight title. Velasquez lost the belt in a subsequent fight against Junior Dos Santos, but won it back in 2012 in a rematch. He defended the title twice before a submission loss to Fabricio Werdum.
Injuries were a constant hindrance to Velasquez’s MMA career, and a return in Feburary after a three-year layoff ended in a quick knockout loss to current contender Francis Ngannou.
Lesnar fought twice more in MMA after facing Velasquez. He was stopped by Alistair Overeem and subsequently went back to pro wrestling, where he eventually re-took the heavyweight title. He staged a comeback in 2016 at UFC 200 and outpointed Mark Hunt. He subsequently tested positive for a banned substance and returned to pro wrestling.
Velasquez signaled his intention to shift sports with a short stint in Lucha Libre. Earlier this month, he made his WWE debut in “Smackdown,” confronting and battering Lesnar in the ring.
“Crown Jewel” takes place Oct. 31 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.